The 19th century American Humorist, Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain was known as a critic of organized religion. He often poked fun at preachers and their preaching.
One Sunday Twain attended a Sunday service. Afterward, he met the preacher at the door and said he had a book at home with every word he preached that morning.
The minister assured him that the sermon was an original. Twain still held his position. So the preacher demanded to see this book. Twain said he would send it over to his office the next morning.
When the preacher unwrapped it he found a dictionary and in the flyleaf was written: “Words, just words, just words.”
Gospel preaching is more than just words. More than just a lovely speech. More than just an oratorical exercise. It is preaching the Good News.
This morning in our Bible reading, I’m reminded and reassured regarding my reasons for preaching. Paul put it this way in Romans 1:16
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Through the years, I have preached several sermons from this passage. But let me share with you 4 words that I borrowed from Warren Wiersbe that speak to the beauty of the Gospel message and it’s motivation for preaching.
Paul calls it the “gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1) It originated in the mind of God and is from and about His Son, Jesus Christ. The “word of the gospel” (Ax 15:7) is the “Word of Truth” (Col. 1:5). The “Word of God (Eph 6:17). The “Word of His Grace (Ax 14:3). The “Word of Life (Phil 2:16).
True and faithful gospel preaching is not merely human words. Its ministry and message are divinely commissioned. I’m not ashamed to preach “the gospel of the glory of Christ (2Cor 4:4).
The operation of the Gospel can be expressed in one word–power.
Paul was writing to the church at Rome, a city that knew something about power. It has been said that “Greece might have had its philosophy, but Rome had its power.” They were conquerors. The Roman Empire stretched across the known world with its legions stationed in every city.
Rome’s military might was feared. Ironically this powerful Empire was weak. Weak morally and spiritually. The philosopher Seneca called Rome “a cesspool of iniquity.” The Roman writer known as Juvenal called it a “filthy sewer into which the dregs of the empire flood.”
Paul knew the Gospel could lift people’s lives out of the sewer of sin. The power of the Gospel convinced Jews who killed Christ to become Christians. Homosexuals, fornicators and idolaters in Corinth were “ washed, sanctified, cleanse” by its redeeming message. And idolaters in Ephesus turned from their idols to serve the One, True God.
I’m not ashamed, but rather privileged to preach such a powerful message
The power of the gospel did more than just make lives purer, nobler and holier. It results in the salvation of the soul. The word “salvation” basically means “deliverance.”
The Gospel delivers one from the burden, bondage, and blame of sin. Its deliverance is past, present and future. Salvation from past sins. Salvation to presently walk in the light and live a righteous life. Salvation beyond the grave to live with God eternally.
Without God, Christ and the Gospel, the world is lost in sin. I’m not ashamed to say so. And to preach this Word of deliverance.
The Gospel is for everyone and anyone who will believe its message, obey its commands and receive its promises.
The Gospel is not reserved for one nation, one race, or one ethnic group. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” was the command of Christ to the apostles. By implication and application, we are under the same commission today.
I’ve been privileged a few times to go beyond US borders and preach the Gospel. I’ve learned that we are more alike than we are different. Regardless of language, customs or culture men and women need to hear the saving Word of the Gospel.
Just words? Hardly! We speak wholesome, soul-saving words of faith and sound doctrine that are faithful and true.
I. Am. Not. Ashamed.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman